A federal jury in New York reached a significant verdict on Tuesday, holding former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and forcibly touching writer E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s, as well as defaming her last year by accusing her of fabricating the incident. The jury awarded Carroll $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages as a result of their decision.
The civil trial, which took place in US District Court in Lower Manhattan, concluded with a relatively swift deliberation of less than three hours. The jury’s ruling did not find Trump liable for the rape allegation made by Carroll. However, they did find him responsible for the sexual assault and defamation claims brought against him.
The nine-member jury began deliberating the case at 11:50 am, following final instructions from Judge Lewis Kaplan and the receipt of a 10-question verdict form. The outcome marks the culmination of a legal battle between Carroll and Trump, who had sought to dismiss the case.
Carroll, now 79 years old, filed the lawsuit alleging that Trump sexually assaulted her in a dressing room at the Bergdorf Goodman store in the mid-1990s. Although the statute of limitations for the alleged rape had expired, Carroll pursued a civil claim of battery under a New York state law enacted in late 2022. This law established a one-year window for filing lawsuits related to sexual assaults that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations.
In addition to the assault, Carroll accused Trump of defaming her by publicly denying her account of the incident. Trump, 76, vehemently denied the allegations, referring to them as “a complete con job” and asserting that Carroll was not his “type.” Despite leading early polls for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Trump did not testify during the trial. However, segments of his deposition from last year, conducted by Carroll’s attorney, were presented as evidence.
During the trial, Carroll took the witness stand, and two women testified that she had confided in them about the alleged assault immediately after it occurred. Two additional women testified that Trump had kissed and groped them without their consent in separate incidents that happened years apart.
The jury’s verdict holds significant implications, as it holds a former president accountable for sexual misconduct and defamation allegations. It remains to be seen how this ruling will impact future legal actions and the public perception of Trump. The case highlights the importance of addressing allegations of sexual assault and ensuring a fair and thorough legal process to investigate and adjudicate such claims.